The Dogs Hold an Election


Fifth Estate # 318, Fall, 1984

“The Dogs Hold an Election” is a legend of the Brule Sioux.

We have a little story about elections. Once, a long time ago, the dogs were trying to elect a president. One of them got up in the big dog convention and said: “I nominate the bulldog for president. He’s strong. He can fight.”

“But he can’t run,” said another dog. “What good is a fighter who can’t run? He won’t catch anybody.”

Then another dog got up and said: “I nominate the greyhound, because he sure can run.”

But the other dogs cried: “Naw, he can run all right, but he can’t fight. When he catches up with somebody, what happens then! He gets the hell beaten out of him, that’s what! So all he’s good for is running away.”

Then an ugly little mutt jumped and said: “I nominate that dog for president who smells good underneath his tail.”

Immediately, an equally ugly mutt jumped and yelled: “I second the motion.” At once all the dogs started sniffing underneath each other’s tails. A big chorus went up:

“Phew, he doesn’t smell good under his tail.”

“No, neither does this one!”

“He’s not presidential timber!”

“No, he’s no good, either.”

“This one sure isn’t the people’s choice.”

“Wow, this ain’t my candidate!”

When you go out for a walk, just watch the dogs. They’re still sniffing underneath each other’s tails. They’re looking for a good leader, and they still haven’t found him.